Dubai: Speaking at her second press conference on Sunday afternoon at the Marina Home Interiors store in Mall of Emirates, the honorary chairperson of the Global Gift Gala, Eva Longoria, discussed the prejudices that exist against people of certain cultures.
At the conference, it was announced that the gala on Sunday night would include musical sets from artists Tallia Storm, Cody Wise, Walid Toufic and Alexandra Burke. Funds raised from the auction portion of the event would support Dubai Cares, Eva Longoria Foundation, Sunrise K Foundation and the Global Gift Foundation. One experience being sold is a trip to Monaco’s Grand Prix with Longoria herself, and the actress had to stop to ask, “Is that the Formula 1? I don’t even know.”
Asked by a member of the media what her perception of Arabs and Muslims was, Longoria said she related to their struggle.
“I’m Mexican-American, so I’m American, but I was raised with Mexican culture — so I have a different language, I have a religion. I understand the similarities that happen when people judge you for having a culture and an ethnicity — or an identity — that I’m very proud of, being Mexican-American,” she said.
“Right now, we’re going through it in the United States as Latinos, because of the lack of immigration reform. There’s always biases that people have and I think you have to put your best foot forward, whether you’re Islamic, whether you’re Arabic, whether you’re Mexican, whether you’re European, whether you’re French. Whatever it is, we all have a human connection,” she added.
Speaking to tabloid! for a tight few minutes afterwards, Longoria discussed her latest experiences with philanthropy and how she ended up guest starring on hit TV show Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Q: It’s been a year since the Global Gift Gala came to Dubai. What have you achieved since then?
A: Last year was so successful that this year we were actually recognised by the Dubai International Film Festival and Dubai Cares to partner with them. We benefited the Sunrise K foundation last year, we honoured Ricky Martin’s foundation about sex trafficking, so there was a lot that we did. We did a lot from last year, and this year we’re hoping to do more now that we have a larger partner.
Q: What was your favourite moment at the gala last year?
A: There was a little girl who sang — I was sitting next to Ricky Martin, and she looked so nervous singing in front of Ricky Martin. He made her feel very, very peaceful. She was tiny — I think she was about 12. And it just brought tears to my eyes. We had a great room last year. People were just electrified and generous and that’s always a positive thing when you’re trying to raise money.
Q: Some people have criticised galas for being glamorous and costly. Do you think there’s any validity to that?
A: No — I think if you have a platform and a voice, and you can raise funds, you should use it and you should do it. We look for fiscally responsible foundations and charities that create sustainable change and that’s very hard to do, to find people who are making sure the money that’s raised is going directly to the people in need. So, we’re very responsible about that. We place an importance on making sure that we can not only raise funds tonight, but it’s about raising awareness, too.
Q: Your last television appearance was a guest role on the comedy show Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It’s a pretty diverse cast and show. How was your experience?
A: It’s super diverse. Brooklyn Nine-Nine was one of my favourite shows on television, and I’d mentioned it to somebody and [the show] called and said, “We heard you like our show, do you want to be on it?” And I was like, “Yeah!” So it was a lot of fun. Andy Samberg is one of my favourite comedians. It’s just such a smart show. And it’s the first time I’ve done comedy since [Desperate] Housewives. For me, it was very scary going back in front of the camera. I was going, “Oh my God, I forgot how to do this.”
Q: Who’s your favourite character on the show?
A: I love Boyle. Andy’s partner — oh my God. Joe Lo Truglio. So good.
Q: Can we expect you back on TV soon?
A: I will be going back to TV next year, in front of the camera. I’ll be starting a new show. I haven’t picked it yet. I just know I’m going back.
Q: What are you watching right now?
A: I love The Americans and I like Scandal.
Q: What’s next for the foundation?
A: This is our last gala of the year, and then we start all over again next year, so we have Mexico first in February or March and then we do it all over again.
Q: Can we expect you back in Dubai next year?
A: The gala will absolutely be here, it depends on whether I’m going to be working next year or not during this time.